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‘He’s poised’: Erik Stevenson’s 3-pointers lead Wichita State up to a first round win

Wichita+State+freshman+Erik+Stevenson+celebrates+a+basket+from+the+bench+during+the+second+half+of+the+game+against+East+Carolina+on+March+14%2C+2019+at+the+FedExForum+in+Memphis%2C+Tennessee.+%28Photo+by+Joseph+Barringhaus%2FThe+Sunflower.%29
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‘He’s poised’: Erik Stevenson’s 3-pointers lead Wichita State up to a first round win

Wichita State freshman Erik Stevenson celebrates a basket from the bench during the second half of the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Wichita State freshman Erik Stevenson celebrates a basket from the bench during the second half of the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State freshman Erik Stevenson celebrates a basket from the bench during the second half of the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Joseph Barringhaus

Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State freshman Erik Stevenson celebrates a basket from the bench during the second half of the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gregg Marshall called out his name.

“Erik” he screamed, the freshman guard running to him on the sideline. He needed to calm down. He had overshot a 3-pointer, turned the ball over and was quickly losing his composure.

“I blew our set and I missed the shot,” Stevenson said. “That wasn’t a good segment for me and he (Marshall) let me know it.”

Quickly, Stevenson relaxed and he pulled the trigger on a three-pointer. He swished the shot. On the ensuing possession, from the opposite wing, he swished another. East Carolina, down 13, called a timeout.

“He’s poised,” Wichita State senior Samajae Haynes-Jones said of Stevenson. “He makes a mistake, he’s going to move on. That’s just the kind of player he is. He doesn’t dwell on anything.”

Stevenson and freshman combo-guard Dexter Dennis had Wichita State’s only 3-pointers. That considered, the Shockers scored most of its points in the paint against East Carolina’s short and depleted front court.

“After the first one, it felt good out of my hands … I knew I was going to shoot it,” Stevenson said, despite cooling off in the second half and finishing with seven points. “I got a little space and I let it fly.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State freshman Erik Stevenson celebrates a made three-pointer during the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Markis McDuffie and Jaime Echenique scored 29 of Wichita State’s points. Echenique played a reserve role behind sophomore Asbjørn Midtgaard, who earned the start.

Haynes-Jones hit a near-identical shot to his two buzzer beaters from the season at the buzzer at halftime. With a 12-point lead at the break, Wichita State had little to worry about in its opening game of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

In the second half, Stevenson executed a crafty bounce-pass to Midtgaard and the Shockers opened to its largest lead against a conference opponent all year with 26 points hanging over the Pirates.

Haynes-Jones put the Shockers up 20 points after a crossover put him at the rim, where he converted a three-point play. Ricky Torres stole the ball from East Carolina’s Isaac Fleming.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State center Asbjørn Midtgaard reaches up for a basket during the game against East Carolina on March 14, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

The Shockers beat the Pirates 73-57 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament. Wichita State will play Temple, the three-seed in the tournament, in at approximately 8 p.m. Friday. Wichita State lost its only meeting with the Owls early in conference play. The game was in the midst of Wichita State’s 1-6 conference start.

Seth LeDay, the Pirates’ second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder, suffered a season-ending knee injury a little more than a week ago in Wichita. East Carolina also played without Rico Quinton, who was injured in a practice at the end of last week.

Wichita State played in front of a largely Shocker-dominant fan audience. Overall, the crowd numbers were slim for the final game of the first day of the conference tournament.

Wichita State has a five-game winning streak. Temple guard Shizz Alston has scored at least 21 points in the final seven games of the season. The Owls beat Central Florida in its season finale to jump to the three-seed in the tournament.

Temple is on the bubble, playing for a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

Joseph Barringhaus
A moment of silence is held before the Wichita State and East Carolina game on March 14, 2019 for Dr. John W. Bardo who passed earlier this week. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

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About the Contributors
Evan Pflugradt, Sports Editor

Evan Pflugradt is the Sports Editor of The Sunflower.

Pflugradt graduated from the Elliott School of Communication in spring 2017, and was recognized...

Joseph Barringhaus, Sports Photo Editor

Joseph Barringhaus is the Sports Photo Editor for The Sunflower. Joseph is a senior at Wichita State majoring in marketing with a minor in communications....

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